Letter to the Editor: Vote ‘NO’ for a split tax rate at Southborough Town Meeting
Article 24 on the Town Warrant of Southborough is proposing a dual property tax rate which would tax business at a higher rate. The rationale for those who oppose Southborough’s long-standing single tax rate is that increased business in Southborough will cause home values to decline. Here are the realities to consider:
- A split tax rate would put Southborough in the minority of Massachusetts municipalities and place us at an economic disadvantage. More than two thirds of the state’s municipalities have a single tax rate. One benefit of growing the business tax base is it will provide new taxes, help improve core services, develop our infrastructure and keep residential taxes manageable.
- Adopting a split tax rate does not increase the gross tax revenues. It shifts the tax burden unfairly from one group to another.
- Property values are not driven by variations in proportion to a town’s commercial tax base relative to its residential tax base. Home values rise and fall as a result of fluctuations in financial markets, interest rates, land values, location, available housing stock, core services, quality of life and schools.
- A split tax rate asks neighbors and colleagues who provide jobs to bear a disproportionate share of the tax burden. If a spit tax rate is adopted, this would result in increased costs to our businesses, making them less competitive and undermining their ability to prosper and to hire and retain employees. A split tax rate also increases the risk that these businesses would leave Southborough which would result in a loss of high quality jobs and have a negative consequence on spending in our retail establishments. Many communities with a split tax rate have found that it undermines their ability to attract and retain businesses and causes higher taxes for residents in the long run as it has in Framingham.
We suggest that such an approach is shortsighted, and will undermine the Town’s financial well-being. We encourage that businesses and residents attend the Southborough Town Meeting on April 16 and 17 at 7 p.m. at Trottier School to support the continuation of maintaining a single tax rate.
Very truly yours,
Southborough, Economic Development Team; Board of Directors, Corridor Nine Chamber of Commerce
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